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Benefits of Chanting

Gregorian  Chant

Dr Alan Watkins, a senior lecturer in neuroscience at Imperial College London said: 

"We have recently carried out research that demonstrates that the regular breathing and musical structure of chanting can have a significant and positive physiological impact."

Heiligenkreuz Abbey  is a Cistercian monastery in the village of Heiligenkreuz in the southern part of the Vienna woods, north-west of Baden in Lower Austria. It has existed without interruption since its foundation in 1133 and is thus the oldest continuously occupied Cistercian monastery in the world

The monks of Heiligenkreuz Abbey sing Gregorian chants. The chants are said to reduce stress levels. The research involved five monks having their heart rate and blood pressure measured throughout a 24-hour period.

Results showed their heart rate and blood pressure dipped to its lowest point in the day when they were chanting. 

Dr Watkins pointed to previous studies that also demonstrated such practices have been shown to lower blood pressure, increase performance hormone levels as well as reduce anxiety and depression.

"Communal singing and the simplicity of the melodies seem to have a powerful effect on reducing blood pressure and therefore stress, he said.

Chanting helps depression

An 8-week study was carried out at the Samarya Center for Integrated Movement Therapy and Ashtanga Yoga in Seattle, WA, to see the effects of chanting on general well-being and particularly respiratory functions in people suffering from mild-to-severe depression. 

The results showed that chanting helped participants increase control over their breath and expiratory output level. The participants claimed that chanting reduced their anxiety and improved their mood. Researchers thus concluded that if done at least once a week, chanting is an effective means of enhancing people's moods in the immediate present, as well as over an extended period of time." 

Chant and Be Happy: The Effects of Chanting on Respiratory Function and General Well Being in Individuals Diagnosed with Depression 

by Molly Kenny, M.S., Raphael Bernier, Ph.C., and Carey DeMartini, M.A. International Journal of Yoga Therapy No. 15 (2005)

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